More Lawlessness Exposed in the Case of Hunting Licences
By Amb. Emmanuel Mwamba
In his directive to both the Minister and the Permanent Secretary of Tourism and Arts, President Hakainde Hichilema ordered the Hunting Concession Agreement awarded in 2020 be halted and the subsequent negotiated Agreements be cancelled.
Following the directive, Ministry of Tourism and Arts Permanent Secretary, Evans Muhanga, sought advice from the Attorney General, Mr. Mulilo Kabesha seeking legal opinion on the cancellation of the Hunting Concession Agreements.
The Attorney General advised that a legal tender, properly advertised, awards properly executed by procurement entity and contracts signed would constitute a genuine hunting concession agreement and the tender therefore remained legal.
He warned that seeking to cancel such concession agreements would expose government to far have legal ramifications and would cost it huge sums of money in compensation if the matter was taken to court.
He said he had not seen any cogent infringement or evidence of breach in the award process and Agreements and it would be untenable to cancel such contracts.
But as the Hunting Season opened on May 1st 2022, PS Muhanga ordered the Director of National Parks and Wildlife, Dr. Chuma Simukonda in his Memorandum dated 22nd April,2022 to readvertise the safari hunting concession.
This is despite firm legal advice to the President and the Ministry from the Attorney General.
On May 4th, 2022, Muhanga informed the bidders that he had opted to cancel the to tender and nullified the Agreements.
I feel pity for the Permanent Secretary who has been made to commit utter illegalities.
But you would admire the Attorney General that despite knowing that the illegal directives came from the Head of State, he frantically sought an appointment with the President to attempt to give wise counsel and proceeded to write a strong letter of advice against perpetuating the illegalities.
However it’s people like Muhanga, keen to impress powers -that-be, who stand lonely in the court dock, accompanied by lawyers and only loved ones standing charged with grave criminal offences committed many years back and the beneficiaries of the corruption and illegalities sitting in expensive lounges, seeping hot coffee while watching the circus play out on television.
Trophy hunting, trophy collection and trophy exports proponents argue that the industry has proven to be an effective, market-based tool to raise revenue and create economic incentives for wildlife conservation, local communities and sustainable development.
But numerous studies show that the large chunk of income goes to government agencies(in licence fees), outfitters and individuals located in cities and abroad.
Trophy hunting does not benefit the local economy to any significant degree.
And prized targets by trophy hunters such as cats(lions, leopards and cheetahs) and the big five such Elephants, Buffalos and hippos are in danger of deppletion and extinction.